An Argument For And Against More Animated Shows

The Ratings Junkie Thursday, June 22, 2017

Most shows fall under one of three categories: comedy, drama, and reality. There are also many subsections; for example, there are plenty of family comedies and plenty of multi-camera/laugh track comedies. Another subsection is an animated comedy. However, there are only three of them, and all are on the same network. With all three--The Simpsons, Family Guy, and Bob's Burgers--having great seasons in 2016-17, should there be more animated shows on the air? Let's take a look at some of the reasons why there should and why there shouldn't be more animated shows on broadcast television.

Reason Why #1--Requires Less Of The Actors
With animated shows, the people behind the show still need to read through the script and perhaps provide their own feedback/improvisations. However, voicing an animated character alleviates the need for the voice actors to worry about keeping a straight face as they deliver a funny line, or about standing in the right place, forgetting their lines, etc.

Reason Why #2--The Actors May Come Cheaper
Due to the fact that animated shows typically require less of the actors (under the assumption they aren't also creators/executive producers), the actors may be cheaper than they would be in a live action comedy. This means that high-profile talent could likely be drawn in for a cheaper price.

Reason Why #3: Flexibility In Who Can Be An Actor
Let's take a look at Bob's Burgers: the Belcher family consists of two parents and three children. While three of the Belchers are female, there is only one female voice actor. Also, the three kids are voiced by adults, something that could not happen in a live action comedy. Furthermore, it allows for the characters to remain the same age for however long the writers wish. They can age the animated characters at any time, and occasionally show an episode or segment of the characters grown up like The Simpsons has done sometimes. This way, the characters will not age out of their personas before the writers are done telling their stories.

Reason Why #4: It's Something Different
One of the reasons why The Simpsons are yellow is that people who are flipping through the channels are bound to sample it due to its aesthetic differences from the competing shows--they're the only yellow family anyone has ever known. There are only three animated comedies on broadcast television right now, meaning the genre is far from oversaturation.

Reasons Why Not
Though the three animated shows on FOX are doing well for the network, there have also been many failed animated shows, including on ABC and NBC. Also, they take a very long time to produce and as such need to be renewed very early in the season, or simply do short seasons. Plus, networks would not appreciate having a new show that takes a ton of time to produce fail out of the gate.

Is It Feasible?
ABC's website currently has a new section called ABCd, with the 'd' standing for digital. They have numerous short episodes (about 5-10 minutes each) of shows in various different genres, all of which are presumably much cheaper than something you would find on broadcast television. What I learned by looking through those shows, though, is they have an animated show. Called Ginger Snaps, the show is specifically meant for an adult audience, but if they could get the rating down to TV-14, it will show that ABC is capable of airing animated shows. While there are no signs of that currently on CBS or NBC, it could be something to look into.

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